03 April 2017

Farewell to the Mountains

We all know The Ballad of Davy Crockett, for many of us it is ingrained in our childhood, especially those of us who grew up dreaming about the olden days of the frontier. Yet, that wasn’t the only song that Disney’s version of Davy Crockett brought to us. Tucked away on a wall of Crockett’s Tavern, in Davy’s scrawling hand, there is a reminder of another tune made popular by Fess Parker.

In case you can’t make out the words, let me translate it for you:

Farewell to the mountains whose mazes to me more beautiful far than Eden could be. The home I redeemed from the savage and wild the home I have loved as a father his child. The wife of my bosom farewell to ye all in the land of the stranger I rise or I fall.

This song, known as Farewell to the Mountains, was originally featured in Davy Crockett at the Alamo, the February 23, 1955 broadcast of Walt Disney’s Disneyland television program. It would also make the cut and appear in the 1955 film Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, which was itself a trimmed down feature containing footage from the first three Davy Crockett episodes of Disneyland.

The song is sung by Fess Parker, as Davy Crockett, when things look very grim at the Alamo. During the second time through, Davy is joined by Buddy Ebsen’s Georgie Russel, as well as an ensemble of the soldiers in the fort. According to Georgie in the episode, it was the only song that Davy ever wrote, and that he did so as a part of their first journey away from Tennessee many years earlier. According the to original menu for Crockett's Tavern, however, Davy wrote the song during their travels to the Alamo. While the Georgie of the television show and the Georgie who assembled the menu may not agree on when and where the song was written, it is a fine piece to include in Fort Wilderness' home of the king of the wild frontier.

This song was adapted from an actual poem penned by the true Davy Crockett. While the beginning is the same, it does have a much less somber tone. It reads:

Farewell to the mountains whose mazes to me
Were more beautiful far than Eden could be;
No fruit was forbidden, but Nature had spread
Her bountiful board, and her children were fed.
The hills were our garners – our herds wildly grew,
And Nature was shepherd and husbandman too.
I felt like a monarch, yet thought like a man,
As I thank the Great Giver, and worshipped his plan.

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